lauracLaura C.

Today we begin another one-month strength cycle based on Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 system. For the next three weeks, we'll train the front squat, deadlift, press and bench press at increasing percentages of your one rep max (1RM--more about that in a moment). The last week of the month is for deloading.

Here's how it works:

IF YOU COMPLETED LAST MONTH'S CYCLE, add 10lbs to your front squat 1RM (NOT working 1RM, your actual [or estimated] 1RM), and 5lbs to your bench press. Then calculate your weights for this month, taking 90% of that number as your WORKING 1RM (W1RM). All percentage calculations will be based on this number, NOT your actual 1RM.

IF YOU HAVEN'T COMPLETED a 5-3-1 CYCLE YET AND HAVE NO 1RMs, BUT HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH THESE LIFTS: today do five sets of five (5-5-5-5-5), working up to a best set of five. We'll call that your five rep max (5RM), and we can use that to determine an estimated one rep max (E1RM) with this formula: weight x reps x .0333 + weight = E1RM. For instance, if you work you work up to 205lbs for five reps on the front squat, multiply 205 x 5 x .0333 + 205 = and E1RM of 239 (round to the nearest 5 or 10lbs is fine). You would then take 90% of that figure to get your Wendler numbers for next week.

IF YOU ARE NEW TO THESE LIFTS, don't worry about percentages this month. This week, do six sets of five, going up in small increments each set. Think about what you're doing and groove good motor patterns.

1. Strength Front squat 5-5-5+ (65-75-85%) Bench press 5-5-5+ (65-75-85%)

2. Conditioning: "Power Elizabeth"

Competitors: 21-15-9 reps for time of power cleans (135/95lbs) and ring dips. Penalty of one burpee for every second over 6 minutes. CrossFitters: AMRAP in 1:15 of power (or muscle) cleans (if you get to 21 before time is up, move on to dips) AMRAP in 1:15 of dips (if you get to 21 before time is up, move on to power cleans) AMRAP in 1:00 of power cleans (to 15, etc.) AMRAP in 1:00 of dips (to 15) AMRAP in :45 of power cleans (to 9) AMRAP in :45 of dips (to 9) Novices: 15-10-5 reps not for time of muscle cleans and dips.

Have fun!